This past weekend, House Democrats rammed through Governor O’Malley’s “public private partnerships” or P3 legislation.
The day’s most spirited debate came on the issue of whether developers helping the state with some projects should have access to an expedited legal process. That provision is in an administration bill pushed by Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown that sets up a framework for public-private partnerships.
The measure would be retroactive, and therefore help Maryland push through a legal tangle that has stalled the State Center project near Bolton Hill in Baltimore.
“What we have here is the worst type of sweetheart deal,” thundered Del. Luiz Simmons, a Montgomery County Democrat who wanted the provision erased.
Defenders of the provision, including Baltimore Del. Maggie McIntosh, argued that the current legal process can be onerous and stifle business. “Time is money in development,” McIntosh said. “We don’t want our regulations to drive business out of Baltimore.”
The provision stayed in the bill, as the House gave its initial nod to the public-private partnership plan.
And with that, Maryland Democrats are one step closer to codifying cronyism in to Maryland law. That sweetheart deal Del. Simmons refers to is the billions to subsidize the State Center boondoggle for Governor O’Malley’s cronies.
And it is only fitting that it was Maggie McIntosh who took up the fight against onerous regulations on business, considering she doesn’t let a pesky thing like ethics get in the way of using her elected office to drum up business for her political consulting business.